Dreamweaver 8 Advises You On CSS

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Developers at Adobe pursued improvements with the number one web development tool by focusing on an issue that has proven a real time waster for developers.

By collaborating with the development community, Adobe believes they have knocked out a problem facing web developers everywhere. Dreamweaver product manager Kenneth Berger talked with WebProNews ahead of the release of the new version about their approach to making CSS an obedient servant to the webmaster.

First the essentials. Dreamweaver 8 is out now, in upgrade and full versions. The product supports multiple technologies a webmaster may have in place to operate a site. In 2007, Adobe will add Dreamweaver 8 support for Windows Vista, and deliver a Mac Universal Binary.

Berger noted what web developers have known for quite some time. Cross-browser development can be more problematic when it comes to CSS. This poses some time wasting showstoppers as developers try to shift from working in table-based layouts to ones based on CSS properties.

During the MAX 2006 conference in October, Adobe provided a sneak peek at CSS Advisor, which will be a centralized destination for browser compatibility issues. Finding solutions for them has been difficult, but an approach that will be boosted by Dreamweaver’s user community should change this.

Berger demonstrated how CSS Advisor will operate. When a cross-browser issue crops up, the developer will see Dreamweaver auto-detect it, and show a link from the problem to the CSS Advisor site.

CSS Advisor will be community-driven, and Berger described it as having features similar to popular social media sites. User contributions will fill in the repository of CSS-related issues and fixes. That content can be tagged for more efficient discovery.

As developers rank the solutions presented for a given issue, CSS Advisor will display the highest-ranked one prominently on the page concerning the problem. Over time CSS Advisor should become more comprehensive, which should lead to significant time savings while troubleshooting CSS.

Berger also highlighted another technology from Adobe, the Spry Framework for Ajax 1.5. Along with Dreamweaver 8, Adobe Spry addresses what the company sees as a need in the marketplace for an Ajax framework to be oriented toward the non-technical designer and copywriter-types of people.

Visual effects can be dropped into a page from Spry. The effects are controlled by CSS, while Spry defines the behavior of the effect. Berger said Spry provides a cleaner, more understandable code than other options would.

Spry also contains a complete set of validation widgets. These serve to provide a more secure web application when used. Since many problems in web applications in the past have proven exploitable through the injection of unvalidated code, use of the validation widgets should help limit the scope of those attacks.

Since the Spry Framework is client-side focused, there will not be a need to employ a server technology to support it. Spry handles the data, widgets, and effects included with a web application.

Dreamweaver 8 and Adobe Spry should find their way into plenty of web development toolboxes over the next year. Since Dreamweaver is so heavily used by developers, we expect to see much more Ajax adoption reaching the Web as those developers try out Spry too.


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David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.

Dreamweaver 8 Advises You On CSS
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